Tuesday 24 July 2012

Day 33: Love

Time for a love poem. A different genre of love poem, from critically acclaimed Irish female poet, Eavan Boland.

In this poem, the poet remembers back to a time when she was intensely in love with her husband, (using mythic references to universalize and contextualize the experience.) She wonders now will that love ever return 'Across our day-to-day and ordinary distances' - the 'epic' question. Can passionate love last? Well, it's a question we'd all like answered.

This poem is quite memorable for the original and apt definition of love as a miraculous 3rd party in a relationship, a magic, a spiritual entity: 'love had the feather and muscle of wings/ and had come to live with us/ a brother of fire and air.' 

Boland doesn't answer her question here, but rather just poses it, and in doing so, creates a poem of profound power.   

Love - Eavan Boland
Dark falls on this mid-western town
where we once lived when myths collided.
Dusk has hidden the bridge in the river
which slides and deepens
to become the water
the hero crossed on his way to hell.

Not far from here is our old apartment.
We had a kitchen and an Amish table.
We had a view. And we discovered there
love had the feather and muscle of wings
and had come to live with us,
a brother of fire and air.
We had two infant children one of whom
was touched by death in this town
and spared: and when the hero
was hailed by his comrades in hell
their mouths opened and their voices failed and
there is no knowing what they would have asked
about a life they had shared and lost.

I am your wife.
It was years ago.
Our child was healed. We love each other still.
Across our day-to-day and ordinary distances
we speak plainly. We hear each other clearly.

And yet I want to return to you
on the bridge of the Iowa river as you were,
with snow on the shoulders of your coat
and a car passing with its headlights on:

I see you as a hero in a text —
the image blazing and the edges gilded —
and I long to cry out the epic question
my dear companion:
Will we ever live so intensely again?
Will love come to us again and be
so formidable at rest it offered us ascension
even to look at him?

But the words are shadows and you cannot hear me.
You walk away and I cannot follow.

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